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Kalamazoo will resume in-person public meetings in January

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Posted at 10:50 AM, Dec 31, 2021

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Kalamazoo City Commission and all public boards will resume in-person meetings starting in January.

City Commission and certain boards and commissions will continue to be broadcast live and accept public comments by phone, according to a news release Friday.

That includes meetings of the Kalamazoo City Commission and the Committee of the Whole, as well as the Planning Commission, Citizens Public Safety Review and Appeals Board, Civil Rights board and others.

Community members will continue to be able to provide public comments over the phone for meetings that are broadcast, though city officials say phone comments will be played live starting in January.

Those wanting to give public comments via phone can call 888-382-9556 during the public comment period. They’ll enter a queue and will be prompted to offer their comments in turn.

Callers will be commenting to the board or commission live and will no longer be able to leave recorded messages.

The changes come as the state law that permitted virtual meetings expires.

Starting Jan. 1, only individuals who are actively serving in the armed forces and whose deployment prevents them from attending a meeting in person will be able to participate virtually.

In response, city commissioners voted to amend their rules on Dec. 20, making Committee of the Whole meetings – which had been implemented on a trial basis – a permanent fixture of the meeting schedule. They also made other changes to accommodate increased participation and protect meeting participants from COVID-19.

Public comments, which have been moved to earlier in the meetings to allow comments from both individuals at the meeting and over the phone, will continue to be limited to three minutes per speaker at regular meetings and two minutes at Special/Committee of the Whole meetings.

The amendments also require people ages 5 and older to wear face masks unless they can’t because of a sincerely held religious belief or a disability. In those cases, the individual will need to be at least six feet from others in attendance not from the same household.

Kalamazoo’s first public meeting of 2022 will be the City Commission’s regular business meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 3.